Greece is all about the water. The islands are the main attraction for many visitors to the country, and Athens is often—shockingly—an afterthought. Outside of the main attractions of the Parthenon and the tourist-clogged Plaka neighborhood, much of Athens goes unseen by the typical tourist - and that is exactly why you should spend some time here.
It goes without saying that the Greek islands are spectacular, but don't miss the chance to explore the spectacular grit of the capital. Here are some of our favorite places to get the local Athens experience that shouldn't be missed:
FABRICA TOU EFROSINOU
A charming neighborhood spot serving modern homemade Greek food with an emphasis on fresh and organic ingredients prepared simply. Some of the most outstanding local food that we tasted.
highlight: house-made taramosalata
Japanese / Greek fusion is not a combination you'd expect but this restaurant has some fantastically inventive dishes in a sleek and intimate space.
highlight: Donburi with lamb
Seating in the main dining room is situated around an epic deli-style meat counter inside of a restored neoclassical building. Despite the prominence of the meat on display, the menu features a well rounded selection of vegetables and seafood as well.
highlight: Smoked Trout, from Taygetos
It's not hard to be a vegan in Athens with vegetable based dishes taking a prominent role on many menus, but Avocado has a fully vegan menu to choose from. It's a casual spot that's ideal for lunch and a quick walk from the busy Syntagma or Plaka areas.
highlight: the macro bowls and juice bar
I WILL MAKE YOU QUEEN
We were taken by the name, but even more taken by the space. The bar / restaurant is housed inside of an old garage - a rustic old space with a modern interior renovation. The venue is unmarked - there are no windows or signage - and it sits on a dark, industrial looking block, making it a challenge to find, but an incredibly rewarding one.
highlight: being in on the secret
A charming neighborhood spot. This cafe / bar is tiny, but full of life. The inside only accommodates a few tables, but you'll likely want to sit outside anyway. Large open windows bring the life of the bar out onto the sidewalk with seating nestled between the building and a small garden.
highlight: the out-sized personality of a very small space
The perfect place to end a night out in Psyri. A magical looking atrium, full of soft lights and hanging plants lured us in from the street. The bar is busy, but the vibe is calm, and despite being a large place, there are plenty of intimate spaces to relax in.
highlight: the atmosphere